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Monthly Archives

July 2019

Poetry – Part 2

By | News, Poetry

a cheerio call from inside of the poem in its making


here I am back again


happening to be in a Norway summer

high above the Arctic Circle

no chance of sunset at all

(see pictures, stay tuned for midnight sun)


…. and right now I am

making an example out of a poem


here I am

writing a poem in the form of a poem

about the poem I’m shaping

(you could get a reputation for this kind of thing

… writing about the writing of it

being in the process…

telling the ways and means)


anyway, I do hope can you see me in here

some sign of life?

requires imagination…

and if I fall into prose, then I’m gone

(a million, dad would say)


you don’t get to make the poem

without first being in a poem

(that’s because poems are the most important of the many places poems are from)


all along, in this process

I am discovering the rules

I test them till they break

break them again and

here I am once more

breaking whatever rules had to be guessed

in its making [the poem’s, that is]

(and that’s a noun or that’s a verb

depending on apostrophe)


you have to keep up… it’s steep

but the views!


and midst of them

here I am

I make a little spectacle of myself

making the poem

(and need the spectacles too at this stage

to see the poem at all

[let these serve as the ‘objective conditions’])


the words here?

almost all inherited

I make up a few

but mainly make us of those provided


…this is all by way of introduction to the poem in the poem under construction

(always as ever)


first on paper

(see the picture!)

and then I’ll type up

(like climbing some stairs high into the text that had to be)


here is one from where I am far

(I know you’re waving but I can’t see

… must adjust reception)


this piece was going to be part of

immensity and wonder

(now I’m not so sure)


motto first

when you’ve gone too far, go further


(would be an epigraph but it’s mine

… I could dilate upon this later)


enough blather, this is the poem I was working on then

(couple of days ago)… it was on Day 1285 since the beginning of Project 366

(that was on the 1st of January, 2016, so now is July 2019… above the Arctic Circle, remember

… in other words, it was the 1285th draft in the series)





one day opened the door and summer came in


just a little shy first

stood at the door to be beckoning


must have been hanging about outside


was as if it had been waiting

considering the curtains


I took a deckchair

hung out with the world


there were great swathes of big yellow


hung the world out to dry


summer stood like a statue then

still in the air

not quite a shimmer


not all there

nevertheless there were insects for proof

unidentified (each with the air of the just invented)


and still I remember those terrible eyes

and how this world is other-ended

but that is another story


for now

the south on all its stiff wings had arrived

to say day

the sky stood off


clouds forgot themselves entirely


all glowed

and cherished this moment

we each of us knew

would never

and never would

come again




back again

here I am

can you feel the rhythm in the repetition

(here and gone - fort! da!…

there’s good repetition and bad)


and here though that draft endeth

I will over time go back and fiddle


(a kind of Nietzschean ‘eternal return’

except that you’ll forget, go on

far and away

absorbed in new text

new adventures

boys own in my case…


because I can’t be in words twice the same

that’s not how language ever worked

or will


it’s a kind of Australian Norway I suppose I’m cooking up here

but is that the right thing to do?

especially when Norway’s so much more like New Zealand

(though without the earthquakes)


often I overwhelm myself with this sort of thing

(and it happens every day)

have to hold on to steady

because you







in deep of the mirror wading


this is where the poem must be


all my own


far ahead of the game

I need never have doubted myself


it’s a shallow swim through own muck

such as gods give

but the water’s too cold here

[I did though manage a whole minute in a fjord

but that was below the circle]


… so much ellipsis…


and back to the breach


you simply have to believe


keep brackets open here


Christopher (Kit) Kelen (客遠文) is a well-known Australian poet, scholar and visual artist, and Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Macau, where he taught Creative Writing and Literature for many years. Kit Kelen’s poetry has been published and broadcast widely since the seventies, and he has won a number of prestigious awards over the years, including an ABA/ABC Bicentennial Prize in 1988; and in 1992 an Anne Elder award for his first volume of poems The Naming of the Harbour and the Trees. He has also won Westerly‘s Patricia Hackett Prize and placed second in Island’s Gwen Harwood Prize. In 2012, his poem ‘Time with the Sky’ was runner up in the Newcastle Poetry Prize, an award for which he has been frequently shortlisted. In 2017, Kit was shortlisted twice for the Montreal Poetry Prize and, for the second time, won the Local Award in the Newcastle Poetry Prize. In 2018, he was longlisted for the ACU and University of Canberra’s Vice Chancellors’ prizes. Volumes of Kit Kelen’s poetry have been published in Chinese, Portuguese, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Indonesian and Filipino and Norwegian. The most recent of Kelen’s dozen English language volumes is Poor Man’s Coat  Hardanger Poems, published by UWAP in 2018.

Phil WIlliams HWC member Live reading at Newcastle Art GallerySpeaker at July 2019 to a full audience and art works

July 2019 Newsletter

By | News, Newsletter

First Tuesday Live Readings at Newcastle Art Gallery

Our inaugural Ekphrastic live reading was held last week.

23 pieces were heard and the judging was very challenging!

All the works brought the artworks alive.

Congratulations to Brian Noble, Nicole Sellers, Gail Hennessy and, people’s choice award winner, Jan Dean.

See upcoming dates and themes below

August – Tuesday 6th – acknowledging Grief Awareness month – share a poem or story about grief and loss

September – Tuesday 3rd – readings by you in response to the Kilgour Prize 2019 (opens August 3)

October: Tuesday 1st – readings by you in response to Robert Dickerson: Off the Canvas (opens August 24)

November: Tuesday 5th – readings by you in response to Wish You Were Here: landscapes from the collection

Seeking: Writing Group facilitator 

Maitland Writing Group

Meets: First Wednesday of the month 9-12

Are you interested in facilitating this group? You do not need to teach. You need to be a person with a big smile who makes newcomers feel welcome. Contact us if that is you. Maitland library is keen to host this HWC writing group to share your writing.

HWC Workshops

New Date – August

Saturday 3rd August

de Pierres - author

Self Publishing – an online course
Nigel George is offering a half-price special to all HWC members for his new self-publishing course.
Visit the Indie Publishing Machine course page, select the Australian Version, and enter the code HWCJULY50 at the checkout to save yourself nearly $100.
You’d better hurry though – the discount is only available until the end of July!

person's hand holding an iphone showing rows of books

HWC Blog

Susan Francis , blogger, member of HWC

Michael Tippett, writer


Our current blogger is member Professor Kelen
Thank you to our members who have blogged thus far

Australian Literature 
- by Susan Francis

Speculative Fiction
 - by HWC Spec Fic writers

Writing History
- by Christine Bramble

Crime Fiction 
- by Megan Buxton


Christine Bramble - staff member and blogger

HWC Member News

Anne Walsh HWC member

Member Anne Walsh is part of the amazing line up at Cuplet  July 11 – tonight!

Gail Hennessy and Jan Dean HWC members

Congratulations Jan Dean and Gail Hennessy who won awards at the HWC Live Reading at Newcastle Art Gallery

Congratulations, Nicole Rain Sellers and Brian Noble who won equal first at the HWC-NAG Ekphrastic live reading

Writing Opportunities and Events

Dying to Know Day – August 8th

An informative opportunity to see into the world of your local Cemetery & Crematorium. Learn about funeral planning, estate and wills and more.

Bookings Essential – RSVP to garry.bellenger@newcastlecrem.com.au

or call 4944 6000 Learn more


2019 Buzz Words Short Story Prize

Short story prize for adults writing for children

High Country Writers Retreat

Friday October 25 to Sunday October 27, 2019

2019 Writing NSW Grants Program

for regional writers 


2019 Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program

Open to picture book and junior fiction manuscripts. Entries close on 31 July

Odyssey House Victoria Annual Short Story Competition

1st prize $1000.


Closes Friday November 1st



HWC Writing Groups

Attendance is free as part of your membership. 
There are vacancies in most of our groups especially: Belmont and Teralba.
See the whole list in the Members Area
Norway, where member blogger Kit Kelen is residing

Poetry – Part 1

By | News, Poetry

Professor Christopher (Kit) Kelen is a resident of Bulahdelah and he has travelled extensively around the world. He is a poet, painter and academic who has published a dozen full length poetry collections and translated books of poetry in several languages. Kit was Emeritus Professor at the University of Macau for many years. Right now he is residing in a little farmhouse in Norway, 10kms from the internet. We asked him to blog about poetry and the writing process and he sent us this wonderful response:

a draft of the poem for the process 

here I am gathering lines from the track

(peripatetic, that is to say)

this is the draft

of the poem

of the process

of bringing the poem to be

(you’d have to read it though, to know

you couldn’t just guess

that the track is the way the words

fall on the page)

these are the secrets that give me away


often wake to the words

there because

must have thought in that direction

left for crumbs to collect in the night

for stones to shine

so to say

titles could come in anywhere

because the poem won’t yet know

if it’s beginning or ever will 

I follow phrases down into the page

improvise just on this theme

were they there already?

come steady from the rain as well

sometimes I come in with them dripping

even ironic sunshone

I work the shadows for a doubt

find a self folded into the text

also always there already

that’s the voice to run

salute to all doors 

feel free to rock gently

in throes of yoga too


the lines afoot  the effort in  the heart come racing till

in fear of where I am

and might be otherwise

smoke rising from my ears

a sign

and breathlessly up in the work

hold a mirror

show the world my way

catch rain in my compass for bung

I have a little radar

for the poem yet to spin

please don’t expect to understand

or dwindle me interpreting

where I’ve been bitten

there’s the rub

and one day they will say of him

trudge as far as he would come

third person that he is

lazy in the pages

climbing never quite arrived

but saw the peak from the queue

the rhythm of machinery was with this

and hear the footsteps - hot breath after

see them coming for the crown

I never had

I never wore

death of me this shroud

and red pen after

when I can’t correct

slow and steady

no one wins

go like the belled sheep

through my own words

four paws where the stone is dry

but here today the track again

and I so many rhythms

implausible insect of this day’s invention







reflect on my better qualities first

they’re all in the work and its making

and there is the goat self I come impassably to

my cooling system sky

all that masked

at least I try

see ants when I hear the rain

that’s for a lame foretelling

in dots

then stand in the forest’s coat

buy time

scribble at the fact

I drip myself

to dot the page

it’s any forest takes me up

to pour out just these words


cuckoo begins me on a tune

as any little wings would

and the rain is a forest as well

come to

slip away from thought

a trill

and nowhere

write my name

consider then how much rain to a poem

how many suns?

a puddle and not to flow

track makes itself as well

and trippingly

how much slipping with down?

sometimes there’ll be a creek run of vowel

come like an inkling to call


light instances

dream in the vision as such

and hear the sky’s increase

an image

smell the soil - one too

take the thing at a run

be the rhythm 
under own spell 


I am constructing the flower machine

and how many words till it’s said

crawl into these least and hide

here for my vanish

and how about you

now you’ve come along this far?

I’m telling this to no one

you see how far I’m gone


all this wander in my woods

you simply must try at home